Learning a few kitchen basics and tricks can mean everything from time saved, a better meal cooked, and confidence for the home cook. Several years ago when I made the jump from complete kitchen avoidance to novice, I made sure that along the way I picked up knowledge that would keep me interested and gave me confidence — or at least gave the impression that I knew what I was doing.
It might seem silly to some but back in my early culinary days peeling garlic is something I tried to avoid. Whenever I could I would substitute granulated garlic for fresh. But as many of you know the results aren’t always the same and fresh garlic can really transform a dish to a new level. So I gave in and kept on trying to find ways of removing that annoying skin covering from each individual clove of garlic. It wasn’t always pretty but alas I found two super easy and fast ways to peel garlic. Today I want to share them with you in hopes that they’ll save you time in the kitchen.
The first thing I learned is to never, ever rinse the cloves nor attempt to peel them with wet or damp hands. This only makes the skin stick to your fingers and the garlic which will make it nearly impossible to peel. You can rinse the cloves after they have been peeled if desired. The second thing I learned is that the fresher the bulb the damper the skin and the more it will stick to the cloves. So if you can allow the skin to dry out a bit longer before using.
I like to cut off the bottom of each clove as you see in the photos above. I feel that this makes the process easier and also it is a segment I cut away after peeling anyways. So first cutoff that part.
On the left side photo you’ll see that part of the skin has already begun to come off, but we are going to help it a bit further. Next lay the flat side of your knife on top of the garlic clove. Gently but firm press down until it flattens, like in the right side photo.
Now simply pick up the crushed garlic clove and remove the skin, it will slide right off. Since we crushed the garlic it can now be chopped, sliced or minced as desired.
Sometimes I use the large pieces as they are after crushing and removing the skin. Other times I’ll roughly chopped or finely mince. It’s up to you and what the recipe requires.
The second technique also begins by chopping off that little bottom part of the garlic clove. Again, it’s optional but I like to do it.
For this technique you’ll need a garlic press or crusher. Simply put the garlic clove with the skin still attached inside the press and squeeze until you see it come out the little holes. Be careful because the garlic juice can squirt out.
Now open the press and remove the remaining skin from inside. See it comes out in one piece!
You can open or separate the skin and see that nearly all of the garlic has been squeezed out. If there are any remaining pieces just remove it and continue with the remaining garlic cloves.
There you have it, two super easy and fast ways to peel and mince garlic. In the photo above the top minced garlic is the one from the press, a smaller clove was used than the one done with the knife technique, and the bottom is the one done with the knife. I don’t prefer one to the other, it really depends on how much time I have and if I want to wash an additional tool. Both techniques are great and will surely save you more time than trying to peel every clove using your finger nails. If you are sensitive to garlic then I suggest you wear kitchen gloves. And if you want to take away the garlicky smell from your finger rub them with a little bit of lemon juice to tone down the scent.
How about you, what is your favorite way of peeling garlic?